Whiting column: Don’t take for granted that which does not make sense
Some aspects of our realm don’t make sense and should inspire thought.
A few are humorous: A policeman on a bicycle. If they arrest someone, are they going to have them ride in the basket? An airline having a flight #5050. Those aren’t very good odds. Then again, a commercial airport is called a terminal, which doesn’t exude confidence.
More are consequential: Thinking an Iran nuclear agreement allowing them to decide when they are inspected, where they are inspected and by whom is a good deal. Colorado and the Western Slope being charged more for health insurance because of our high cost of living, yet retirees’ Social Security checks are calculated in the same manner as those who live elsewhere.
Some demonstrate hypocrisy: Coming here because their country’s economic system doesn’t work, provide opportunity or safety; then wanting to make this country more like another. The corporate executive of a charitable, nonprofit making over $100,000.
Others make you wonder: The sign in the fast-food restaurant saying braille menus available here. Then also seeing the sign in the drive-up. The pilot saying, “We’re flying at 32,000 feet, going 650 mph and I have just turned off the fasten seat belt sign.” Yet, after landing, taxiing at 3 mph, we get yelled at if we unbuckle.
Many are political: A person with a net worth under $500,000 when initially elected to Congress, earning a salary around $200,000, living in Washington, D.C., with its high cost of living subsequently retiring with a net worth significantly over $10 million. Having a relative on the board of a foreign corporation and not thinking they expect something in return. It would be interesting if politicians were required to model professional golfers and NASCAR by publicizing their sponsors on their shirt and car.
They can be quizzical: Locks on the front door of a hospital, 7-Eleven or casino when they are open 24/7. Pizzas in square boxes. Square boxing rings. A memory foam mattress in a motel.
A few shirk responsibility: Aspen having a goal to reduce their carbon footprint but adding more space for private aircraft and refusing to develop or provide affordable housing for their employees.
Several are word interpretations. A movie titled “Constipation.” It will never emerge to see the light of day; especially if it’s a movie about Congress. Phonetically not spelled the way it sounds. Getting investment advice from someone called a broker. An airline asking for our final destination when we buy a round-trip ticket. Having a conductor on a train when there isn’t an orchestra. Calling the place we buy food at a Broncos’ game “concessions.” At $18 for a hot dog and beer, they aren’t conceding anything.
Science isn’t immune: cities, states and businesses paying large sums for surveys when all they need to do is go out and ask their constituents or customers themselves. Spending $2 million on cloning mice; didn’t know we had a shortage. Spending $4 million to determine why dinosaurs don’t talk. It’s because they’re dead.
Some involve anatomy: Telling someone they have a “warm” personality, when the dictionary defines warm as “not so hot.” Telling someone they’re a pain in the neck, when it’s likely the pain is considerably lower.
Logic and voting aren’t exempt: We need a perfect driver’s license ID or passport to fly, but some feel they shouldn’t need one to vote. Denying the presence of ethics in voting by allowing people to vote on something that won’t affect their lives, only the lives of others.
Foreign aid is included: Providing foreign aid to a country, but not insisting on administering it and wondering why the money ends up in the hands of the dictator instead of the people. The country receiving foreign aid subsequently donating to a politician’s foundation. A country’s economic and political system being so unsuccessful as to necessitate foreign aid and our not demanding change as a condition of the assistance.
Ignorance can be demonstrated: The lady who called the radio talk show saying people shouldn’t hunt animals because if they need food, they should go to the grocery store and get the meat where it’s made. The phrase “a word to the wise.” It isn’t necessary. It’s the stupid ones that need the advice.
Most politicians have lost sight of common sense. Consequently, we have a personal responsibility to model it in what we say, do and advocate. The serious items mentioned above have logical solutions that are both uncomplicated and easy to implement. Some might counter we don’t understand because we’re “boomers.” Could be true, but experiential learning accompanies age. When kids, we had to win to get a trophy. We understood social media; we passed lots of notes in class. We were only entitled to opportunity.
Overcomplexification isn’t required. The simplest common-sense solution is usually the best.
One thing for sure: If pro is the opposite of con, then progress is the opposite of Congress.
Bryan Whiting feels most of our issues are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of non-partisan economics rather than government intervention. Comments and column suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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